I had the privilege to portray Deborah a few weekends ago at a women’s event. She is still stirring in my heart and in my mind.
We find Deborah a woman, a prophet, a judge. Such an unusual position for a women in Bible times. Almost an impossible position. We know that our God is a God of the impossible.
What was it about Deborah? What did God see within her, to give her such an impossible position?
Did Deborah even want this position?
Did she have a choice?
How did others treat her?
Was it worth it?
There were no other women around doing what Deborah was called to do. It was her own original calling.
Isn’t that what we all want… to know our own original calling from God. Not mimicking someone else’s calling – living the life path that God has designed for us.
We can be sure – we will ask the same questions –
How will it fit into our life?
Do we have a choice?
How will others treat us?
Will it be worth it?
We know that Deborah was Lippidoth’s wife and she was part of his household… I am sure in her roll at home, she had many duties. Wife, possibly mother. Woman of the manor and no doubt her home was full of extended family, who all looked to her and asked, “What’s for Dinner?”
The Lord calls her to be a prophet to his rebellious people and also a judge. A woman who would hear from the Lord and then bring His justice to their disputes. Deborah is leading the nation of Israel….we think women leading countries is something new.
She is faced with the same balancing act as we all are… home life, work life and our God-calling. Yet we see Deborah does do it all. How? God marches before her, it really is that simple. Really.
Times are awful in Israel – God’s people are sinning and doing evil in His sight. Not even trying to hide it. The Lord allows oppression to come through the hand of King Jabin of Canaan and his chief military commander Sisera. Sisera ruled over God’s people cruelly and after 20 years they finally begin to cry out to God again.
Deborah was a woman who was no stranger to spending time in the Lord’s presence. I can imagine that she spent much time travailing over her people. We see later in her story that, she was said to have a mother’s heart for the people of Israel. Oh, if we had leaders like her today!
She was a woman who listened to the Lord, really listened. Listened until she was sure. When she was sure… she moved to action. She didn’t stall, she didn’t doubt, or wait for one more word from God.
How was she so confident? Simple – She knew God’s voice because she spent time with Him.
She waited in His presence for His wisdom, His guidance. When the Lord said, it is time to call, Barak, the commander of Israel’s Northern Army. Tell him…. ‘Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead them up to Mount Tabor. I will lead Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his troops to the Kishon River and give him into your hands.’” Judges 4:6-7
A not so confident Barak (he must not have spent much time listening to the Lord) says. I’ll go – but only if you come too, Deborah.”
She agrees… but she says…“Certainly I will go with you.” But because of the course you are taking, the honor will not be yours, for the Lord will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman.”
The troops are gathered, the battle is at hand and Barak is still unsure. He needs one final word of encouragement from Deborah...these words grip my heart…“Go! This is the day the Lord has given Sisera into your hands. Has not the Lord gone ahead of you?”
There it is, the difference between one who knows their calling and one who does not. Deboarah believed God would give Israel the victory, Barak had to be convinced.
Do we believe? Or do we need to be convinced?
How could Deborah be so sure… she was living this before it was even written…. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:33-34
How does this look in our lives?
When we put God first- before everything else. We will come to know our calling. Chances are it is a calling that doesn’t look like someone else’s. We will be sure and secure in it. No matter how unusual it may seem to others – even to ourselves.
We can be assured that He will take care of everything, even in the midst of the battles that will come – and they will. He is with us, marching before us. He is also taking care of our household in the midst of it. No worries. Oh, the time we waste worrying.
What happens after the battles – after the smoke clears? How does Deborah react. She busts out in song – celebrating all that the Lord has done for her, her household, her nation. Deborah knew that it had been worth it.
When we stop to listen and hear God’s voice, We will know our calling, when we go… and walk in it knowing that God himself goes before us in every battle… He will give us a song to sing. We will know – it was worth it.